18 April 2017

How virtual and augmented reality are changing our shopping experience

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Imagine wearing a headset and walking into a store, picking up things you would usually buy in real-life. Or even trying on different outfits without having to change clothes. The future? Of course not, because it’s already happening.

Virtual and augmented reality are changing the way we do things. It gives us the possibility to do things faster, better and different. Implementing virtual reality can be used as a competitive advantage by companies if they use it well. Customers are getting used to online shopping and their mindset is already changing to this new form of shopping as well.

Lots of companies are trying around with all different kinds of virtual or augmented reality. Live Nation for example is streaming concerts, Ikea gives their users the possibility to walk around in a virtual kitchen and Thomas Cook shows potential customers their dream vacation via virtual reality. But this is just the beginning. A new era where applications such as Pokémon Go and virtual headsets are used daily is taking off, slowly but inevitably.

According to Dan McKone there are some things you have to take into account as a company when implementing virtual or augmented reality. To start with, you have to make sure that it is clear which device your audience has to use. A headset for example is not very common yet, smartphones and tablets on the other hand are. The second decision you should make is whether the application will be used in-store or out-of-store. In-store applications for example can give an added value to the customers’ shopping experience, out-of-store applications make it easier for the customer to shop where- and whenever he wants. Furthermore, it is also important to target your audience and find out who needs your application and why. Recognizing your customers’ needs for an application before they know it themselves and making sure there is an added value for the customers, can differentiate your company from your competitors. Last, it is very important that your application is linked to your company’s business model.

With several investments in the sector and start-ups sprouting up everywhere it is impossible to imagine that augmented and virtual reality won’t become even more important than they already are right now. Companies should take this into account and customers should start to change their mindset and adapt their behaviour to it.